Leon Battista Alberti

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Alberti, Leon Battista


Born Feb. 18, 1404, inGenoa; died Apr. 25,1472, in Rome. Italian scholar, architect, writer, and musician. Alberti studied humanities in Padua and law in Bologna. Later he lived in Florence and Rome. A prominent figure in Renaissance culture, he defended the literary rights of the “native” (Italian) language. In a number of theoretical treatises (On a Statue, 1435, and On Painting, 1435–36, in Italian; On Architecture, published in 1485, in Latin), Alberti summarized the experience of the art of his time, enriched by scientific achievements. In Latin, he wrote the comedy The Lover of Fame (1426) and Momus (written between 1443 and 1450), a mythological and allegorical satire on princes and courtiers. Among his works in Italian, On Family (books 1–4, 1437–41) portrays the model family and advances the ideal of man in harmony.

In architecture, Alberti gravitated toward bold experimental judgments. In the Rucellai palace in Florence (1446–51, built by B. Rossellino according to Alberti’s plans), the facade was interspersed for the first time with three tiers of pilasters of various orders; the pilasters together with the rustic wall were perceived as the building’s constructive base. In reconstructing the facade of the Church of Santa Maria Novella (1456–70), Alberti used the incrustation style in the revetment and employed volutes for the first time to join the middle parts of the facade with the lower laterals. Alberti’s works, especially the church of San Francesco in Rimini (1447–68, remodeled from a Gothic church), and the churches of San Sebastiano (1460) and Sant’ Andrea (1472–94) in Mantua, all constructed according to his designs, were an important step in the assimilation of the heritage of antiquity by early Renaissance architecture.


Opuscoli morali. Translated by C. Bartoli. Venice, 1568.
Opere volgari, vols. 1–2. Ban, 1960–66.
Desiat knig o zodchestve, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1935–37.


De Sanktis, F. Istoriia ital’ianskoi literatury, vol. I. Moscow, 1963.
Vseobshchaia istoriia arkhitektury, vol. 5. Moscow, 1967.
Mancini. G. Vita di Leon Battista Alberti. Florence, 1911.
Stokes, A. Art and science: A study of Alberti, Piero della Francesea, and Giorgione. London, 1949.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Introduzione alla "Porcaria coniuratio " di Leon Battista Alberti. Foggia: Libria, 2015.
(7.) Leon Battista Alberti, De pictura, 2.26, in Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting and On Sculpture, tr.
Baseado em Vitruvio, Leon Battista Alberti assinalava: "Sejam os movimentos e as poses das mocas leves, cheios de simplicidade, em que haja de preferencia a docura da alma que a galhardia, muito embora a Homero, a quem Zeuxis seguiu, agradassem as formas robustas ate nas mulheres".
Scholarly interest in Leon Battista Albert) has, in the past two decades, been prodigious: the foundation of the Centro di Studi sul Classicismo in 1992, with its project to publish critical editions of all Alberti's works; and after the international congress in Paris in 1995 of the Societe International Leon Battista Alberti (SILBA), which plans the publication of all his works and publishes the annual Albertiana, and was followed in 1998 by the establishment of the Fondazione Centro Studi Leon Battista Alberti in Mantua.
Leon Battista Alberti on a painting of Narcissus, De Pictura (1435)
In Britain, and in Italianist literary circles, Leoni is probably unknown, an understandable omission one may say, yet in 1726 he published the first English translation of one of the key humanist texts of the Renaissance, the Ten Books on Architecture by Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72).
Comprising 16 essays on such diverse case studies as the Renaissance theorist Leon Battista Alberti's definition of rhetoric and its lasting influence on the latter-day architect's role, to the notion of architectural creativity in Lewis Carroll's writing, the book examines both novel and familiar material from a fresh perspective.
Kirsten Harris carries the esthetic theme forward by arguing that Cusa's understanding of perspective was influenced by the Renaissance artist Leon Battista Alberti. (Inexplicably C.
If this observation is correct, then we should build the south side higher so the sun is not obstructed in the winter, and the north side lower, so that the cold north winds do not enter the house." This is how Greek philosopher Socrates (470-399 BC) is quoted by Xenophon on the preferred orientation and type of an "ideal house." The excavated houses in Delos and Priene demonstrate this concept, which reappears in the texts of vitruvius and Alberti (Howard Bums, "Leon Battista Alberti [1404-1472], Progetto per un complesso termale," in Leon Battista Alberti e Roma, edited by Francesco Paolo Fiore, Milan, Skira, 2005):